Six months into my writers’ group and I was becoming a dab hand at receiving critiques – giving them however was not so easy. My main task back then was, and still is, to provide some useful feedback that is of benefit to the writer, while encouraging them to remain on the path of writing. One of the worst things I could do is comment so harshly that the writer gives up on their dream. While I have always tried to make my comments constructive (and have been told they are helpful), when I listen to my fellow writers they seem to have a far superior input. They comment on things I have not even considered, they look at the story from different angles. Some of them have technical knowledge and life skills that I can only dream about.
This is one of the great things about a writers’ group. I have not written every submission that goes under the lens for scrutiny, I have not submitted at every gathering. But there is a lesson for me to learn in every critique, all I need to do is listen.